Out Run (アウト ラン?) is an arcade game released by Sega in 1986. It was designed by Yu Suzuki and developed by Sega AM2. The game was a critical and commercial success, becoming one of the best-selling video games of its time and winning the Golden Joystick Award for Game of the Year. It is notable for its innovative hardware (including a moving cabinet), pioneering graphics and music, innovative features such as offering the player choices in both soundtrack and non-linear routes, and its strong theme of luxury and relaxation. In retrospective interviews, Yu Suzuki has classified Out Run not as a racing game, but as a "driving" game.
Out Run is a 3D third-person racing game. The player controls a car, a Ferrari Testarossa, from a rear third-person perspective. The player must race to the end of each stage as fast as possible against a time limit while avoiding traffic. At the end of each stage, the player is presented with a fork in the road where the player must choose one of two stages. The left route presents an easier stage, while the right offers a greater challenge. Passing through checkpoints awards the player with extra time. Once the timer reaches zero or the player completes the race, the game ends. In addition to the nonlinear gameplay, Out Run also offered the choice of music to listen to while driving, represented as radio stations.
Out Run was ported to many of the home consoles and computer systems of the time. Due to the various hardware limitations of these systems compared to the dedicated arcade hadware, some ports came bundled with a bonus cassette tape featuring the original arcade versions of the game's soundtrack, the idea being that the player could listen to the true versions while playing rather than the limited home computer renditions, if they were available at all.
Upon release in 1986, Out Run became one of the most popular games in the arcades at the time. It was the best-selling arcade game of the year, having sold over 20,000 arcade cabinets within a year. The 8-bit computer game ports published by U.S. Gold in 1987 sold over 200,000 copies within two weeks, during the pre-Christmas period, making Out Run the fastest-selling game in the UK up until that time. The home computer versions eventually sold over 250,000 copies by Christmas 1987, making Out Run the best-selling computer game of 1987 in the UK.
Out Run was ported to the Mega Drive/Sega Genesis and released in 1991. The 16-bit console Mega Drive / Genesis version of the game released by Sega in 1991 received a score of 85% from the Swedish Svenska Hemdatornytt magazine that same year. This version later received a score of 9 out of 10 from Sega-16 in 2004, and a top A grade from The Video Game Critic in 2008.